Newly-crowned IMSA Champion Ricky Taylor, Graham Rahal and Simon Pagenaud have been announced as the final three drivers in Acura Team Penske’s 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship line-up.
Taylor will team up with Helio Castroneves in one of the team’s two full-time Acura ARX-05 entries in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next season. They will join the previously-announced pairing of Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron.
In addition to that, Graham Rahal and 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series Champion Simon Pagenaud will join the programme as endurance drivers when the team makes its competition debut with the new Acura prototype sports cars at IMSA’s 2018 season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona in January and the 12 Hours of Sebring in March.
“Adding a champion sports car driver in Ricky will help our team grow and develop,” said Roger Penske. “Ricky had a phenomenal season in 2017. He brings a great deal of sports car experience and his knowledge of the cars, the race tracks and the series overall will be a big benefit to our team. Having that experience, along with the winning pedigree of Helio, Juan and Dane, provides a great platform as we launch the Acura Team Penske programme next season.
“When you add Simon (left, pictured during his time with Highcroft Racing in the ALMS) and Graham for the endurances races, I feel like we have a strong lineup for Daytona and Sebring.”
“We are really excited to have three more great drivers join the Acura Team Penske program and round out our lineup for next season,” said Art St. Cyr, President of Honda Performance Development.
“Ricky will be a great addition and putting him with Helio will make for a formidable duo to join the other team of Juan and Dane. Then, you add Simon and Graham, who have each driven for Acura in the past, we couldn’t be more excited about getting the ARX-05 ready to go for Daytona.”
Ricky Taylor (below) added: “It was a great experience getting a chance to test an Indy car with Team Penske, but to get a call from Roger Penske offering the opportunity to drive one of his race cars full time – well, that’s a life-changing opportunity,” said Taylor.
“We have had a lot of success in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship the last few seasons with my dad’s team, including winning both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Championship this year.
“I’m definitely ready for the next challenge in my career and I couldn’t be more excited to join Team Penske and work with Helio, Juan and Dane to launch the new factory Acura effort and start winning with the ARX-05 in 2018.”